Jonathan, 12, grinned as he watched the driver load up the limo with the many items from his shopping spree. For the past few hours, Jonathan methodically perused Best Buy, with his shopping list as a reference, and filled his shopping cart with a laptop, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, dual LED monitors and other items to improve his gaming experience. The limo also made a visit to GameStop where Jonathan, who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, picked up video games to play on his new gaming systems.
“It was such an amazing thing to see Jonathan so excited,” Jonathan’s mom, Tyasha, said. “It melted my heart and brought tears to Jonathan and my eyes.”
After every chemotherapy treatment at the hospital, Jonathan would stop at the local Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant to order chicken wings to go. The carryout counter staff member Calvin noticed that Jonathan would come in frequently and started to ask him questions. A friendship was born. When Jonathan wished to have an electronic shopping spree, he requested that Calvin be his waiter at lunch so that he could share this special day with his friend.
“Jonathan and Calvin have a unique bond,” Tyasha said. “He was very happy to have him there and talk about the things he bought at Best Buy.”
Jonathan’s wish journey began a few years before the shopping spree. Jonathan’s dad knew something was wrong when he didn’t eat his chicken nuggets at a Detroit Tigers game. Doctors diagnosed Jonathan with cancer the very next afternoon after Tyasha took him to the emergency room.
“I let [the doctors] talk and then went back to my son’s room where he was sleeping,” Tyasha said. “I turned the shower on and cried – the most quiet and painful cry I had ever had.”
Jonathan’s diagnosis threw the family into upheaval with chemotherapy along with a one-week hospital stay taking place every other week. In the first two years of treatment, Jonathan missed 218 days of school.
“When cancer enters your life, it takes you prisoner,” Tyasha explained. “You are helpless to that illness. You lose the ability to be you. A child with cancer is like a child locked in a box.”
A counselor at the hospital told Jonathan’s family about Make-A-Wish Michigan. When given the chance to make his one heartfelt wish, Jonathan decided he wanted to go on an electronic shopping spree at Best Buy and GameStop.
Jonathan treasured the time to shop with his older brother Austin, in particular, who he looks up to and is a big gaming geek. The two brothers had drafted a shopping list that they referenced throughout the day to make the ultimate gaming room for him at home.
“Jonathan was a rock star at the store that day,” Jonathan’s volunteer Julie explained. “It was heartwarming for me to see. When we got to Best Buy, we were strangers, but when we left we were family.”